MIM Ineffable Miami Fall 2020: Golden Beach by Kathalinna Zuniga

Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science, 2019. Photo by Pamela Zuniga.

Hello everyone, welcome to my blog! My name is Kathalinna Zuniga, I was born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia, and I moved to Florida almost five years ago.  I am a persistent and committed honors student, double majoring in International Relations and Political Science at Florida International University. Before moving to Florida, I lived in Ottawa, Canada, for about a year. Canada’s demographic diversity awakened my passion for different cultures, languages, religions, and customs, reason why I decided to explore and learn more about South Florida.

GEOGRAPHY

Golden Beach is a small town with 1.8 square miles, and approximately 364 homes. It has the Atlantic Ocean on the east, the Intracoastal Waterway on the west, the city of Sunny Isles on the south and the city of Hallandale Beach on the north. Thus, it is located 18 miles from Miami International Airport and 15 miles from Ft. Lauderdale International Airport (Golden Beach, 2020). Moreover, Golden Beach is one of the most desirable places to live as it characterizes for being a small, exclusive, private and quiet community. Additionally, the town is protected from commercial activity and prohibits the construction of high-rise condominiums. 

Photo by Kathalinna Zuniga/CC BY 4.0
Golden Beach, Google Maps location.

The Town of Golden Beach is divided in three small residential islands, North, Central and South. 

HISTORY

R.W. and Henry G. Ralston were two brothers who founded what is now known as Golden Beach. Their plan was to build a small, intimate community next to the ocean. Therefore, almost 90 years ago this two brothers changed the mangroves and sand dunes space into exclusive single-family homes, and they spent millions of dollars in the process (Golden Beach, 2020). 

At the beginning, the streets of Golden Beach were given Italian names such as Massini Avenue, Verona, Palermo, Venice and Ravenna. Additionally, the Beach Pavilion, built in 1924, was once called Florentine Loggia because it had a strong Mediterranean Revival influenced. Indeed, many houses still have Italian designed spaces.  

On the other hand, the Town of Golden Beach was incorporated by a special act of the State of Florida in May 1929. Currently, the town holds the vision that once the Ralston brothers had, while evolving, expanding and becoming one of the most exclusive and expensive places to live in Miami Dade County. 

Moreover, I wanted to mention an article that I read about gentrification in Golden Beach (Blaskey, 2020).  Nonetheless, the definition of gentrification is different here, because the rich are being pushed out by the richer in this Town. Many long-term residents have been forced to leave Golden Beach because they cannot afford their homes anymore. Thus, many argued that it has become a different community, with many Brazilians, Russians and even wealthy Venezuelans pushing old residents out of the Town. Not only that,  but the town manager and the council have made it hard to stay in the area. Hence, I guess we are seeing a different type of gentrification, if you may even call it that way…

Photo taken from Golden Beach official site.

Photo by Kathalinna Zuniga/CC BY 4.0

DEMOGRAPHICS

Golden Beach has a total population of approximately 1,023, with males representing the 50.44% and females the 49.56% of the population. Additionally, the median age is 44. Moreover, Golden Beach is one of the most educated communities if the state with approximately 73.11% of its residents having an Associate’s degree or higher, and 34.27% having a Graduate degree or higher. The median yearly income is $128,408, meaning that residents earn 146% more than the county, 127% more than the state, and 102% more than the nation. In fact,  household expenditures are approximately, $111,168 per year (Beacon Council, 2020). 

However, Golden Beach is a popular vacation destination. In other words, its population is seasonal, thus, during the vacation season there is a larger influx of people who rent or come to their second home residences. Therefore, after the season is over the population drops and the community is quieter and smaller as it is for the most part of the year. 

Finally, the town of Golden Beach is very ethnically diverse. Indeed, the greatest number of homeowners are White, followed by Asian. In addition, the Hispanic population represents 30.67%, and ancestries of people include Russian, Polish, Italian, and German. Not only that, but 47.63% of the residents were born outside of the United States.

Photo by Jorge Milano/CC BY 4.0

LANDMARKS AND PARKS

As Golden Beach is characterized for being a small, residential town it does not count with many places open to the public. However, some of the most iconic locations include the private beach, which is limited to property owners and monuments that are located among the parks, and have been dedicated to mayors of the town and its police department. 

The town of Golden beach currently has 9 parks were residents can enjoy open spaces and a private access to the beach. Some of the parks are: 

  1. The Town of Golden Beach Strand Park and Marine Patrol Dock 
Photo by Kathalinna Zuniga/CC BY 4.0
Photo by Kathalinna Zuniga/CC BY 4.0

The Marine Patrol covers special events happening in the town and controls the three miles of intra-coastal waterways that Golden Beach has. In fact, the town has its own Police Department which includes a community patrol division, K-9 division, detective bureau and of course, the marine patrol unit. 

2. Singe Park

Photo by Kathalinna Zuniga/CC BY 4.0

This park was named after Mayor Glenn Singer, who helped the town while improving the residents quality of life. In fact, he purchased many vacant lots so that Golden Beach would be able to have green spaces. 

3. Loggia Beach Park: private beach park and pavilion.

Loggia Beach Park, Google Maps location.

4. Dog parks and parks open to the public: 

Photo by Kathalinna Zuniga/CC BY 4.0
Photo by Kathalinna Zuniga/CC BY 4.0

FOOD AND BUSINESSES

Unfortunately, or luckily, depending on the perspective from which you are looking at it, Golden Beach prohibits any type of commercial activity. Thus, you will not find any nightclubs, restaurants or shopping centers in the town. Indeed, residents enjoy the tranquility of life far from all the craziness of bigger cities. 

However, not too far from the town, homeowners can enjoy casual and exclusive dining places such as the Soya Noddle Bar, Te Amo Café, Jupiter on the Water among many others. In addition, they can find shopping malls such as Aventura, Intracoastal mall, The Shopper at the Waterways, and The Village at Gulfstream Park. 

Finally, the industry that has being benefited the most is the real state industry. Golden Beach has properties that could cost $2,000,000 to $25,000,000 and rent could vary from $14,000 to $90,000 per month. 

Photo by Kathalinna Zuniga/CC BY 4.0

Photo by Kathalinna Zuniga/CC BY 4.0

TRANSPORTATION

Most of Golden Beach residents use their cars to drive around the area. Additionally, residents spend an average of 25 minute to get to work with the Interstate at only 2 miles away from the town. Not only that, but within 50 miles of the town there are 11 airports. Additionally, buses could also work as a transportation mode, but they are barely or not at all used. 

SUMMARY

Golden Beach is a small, unique, quiet and exclusive town that has definitely keep the vision of the founders. The town’s incredible houses and organization are nothing but fascinating, indeed, many foreigners are attracted to this beautiful neighborhood. However, all this wealth and power makes you think about the inequalities of Miami Dade County. While many families during the pandemic were struggling to pay for groceries and had no option but to work and put their lives at risks, others were paying almost $90,000 per month for rent and had their town banned visitors from entering the area. 

CITATIONS

About Golden Beach. (n.d.). Retrieved December 14, 2020, from https://www.goldenbeach.us/about/

History of Golden Beach. (n.d.). Retrieved December 14, 2020, from https://www.goldenbeach.us/history-of-golden-beach/

Blaskey, S. (n.d.). Gentrification 2.0? The rich are being pushed out by the richer in this Miami-area city. Retrieved December 14, 2020, from https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/article214756520.html

Golden Beach. (2018, March 20). Retrieved December 14, 2020, from https://www.beaconcouncil.com/why-miami-dade/cities/golden-beach/

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